10 Ways To Help A Loved One Who Has Been Sexually Molested Recover. Gender based violence continues to be on the rise in South Africa. Unfortunately for various reasons, a lot of victims do not open up or report their ordeals. This delays the healing process, and can also affect the victim for the rest of their lives.
Here is how you can help a loved one who has been sexually abused heal from the ordeal.
1. Educate Yourself
While every victim and each story is unique, it’s useful to educate yourself on the impacts of sexual abuse. It’s not the responsibility of a survivor to educate you . It’s so easy to read more on your own and being informed beforehand will make you a better partner in recovery.
2. Be A Good Listener (if they want to talk)
Let the victim know you’re available if they need to talk. If you haven’t already, listen to their story, if they’re ready to tell you. They may also want to express their anger, frustration, fear or sadness about recent news events. Don’t pressure them into talking or telling you their story.
3. Remain Calm
If the victim decided to share their ordeal with you, try by all means to remain calm. You may feel shocked or outraged, but expressing these emotions to the victim may cause confusion or discomfort.
4. Believe The Victim
Most of the time, victims do not report cases of sexual violence because no one believes them. In some instances, the victim is blamed for what happened to them. Make it clear that you believe the assault happened and that the assault is not her or his fault.
5. Let The Victim Express Themselves
Be available for the victim to express a range of feelings: crying, screaming, being silent, etc. Remember, the victim is angry with the person who assaulted her or him and the situation, not with you. Just be there to listen. Do not judge their state of mind.
6. Maintain Confidentiality
A lot of the times people keep their stories to themselves because of trust issues. When it comes to sexual assault issues, confidentiality is key. Do ot go around sharing the story of the victim. Let them decide who to tell about the assault.
7. Give The Victim Control
Control was taken away during the assault. Empower the victim to make decisions about what steps to take next, and try to avoid telling her or him what to do. Do not try to persuade the victim to drop or press charges. The victim has to take charge on how they want the matter handled.
8. Encourage Counseling
Empowering the victim to make their own decision, doesn’t mean you can’t help with ideas. When the ordeal is still fresh, victims in most cases go through psychological trauma. Give the victim the hotline number for the nearest rape crisis center, but let the victim decide whether or not to call.
9. Don’t Confront The Perpetrator
Allow the proper authorities to deal with the assault. Confronting the person who committed the sexual assault may be harmful or dangerous. Attempting to investigate or question others who may know about the assault may hamper a legal investigation. Leave this to the proper authorities
10. Give Support
Although the story is not yours to own, assure the victim of your support. She or he needs to know that regardless of what happened, your relationship will remain intact. Ask before offering physical support. Asking “Can I give you a hug?” can re-establish the victim’s sense of security, safety, and control.